All the King's Men
New York: Harcourt Brace, 1946.
New York: Harcourt Brace, 1946. First edition. First printing (Sinclair Lewis blurb on the rear panel). A Near Fine copy in Very Good jacket, retaining its bright colors. Spine gilt a bit dulled and rubbed, otherwise a very nice copy of the book. Jacket with a number of large tears closed with tape on the verso (mostly on the rear panel). An important work of political fiction.
Drawing its title from the nursery rhyme Humpty Dumpty, Warren's political novel follows the rise and fall of charismatic populist governor Willie Stark. Though Stark enters public service in the Depression-era Deep South with ambitions of holding crooked politicians and unethical businessmen in Louisiana accountable, he finds over time that mixing with the corrupt ultimately corrupts him. At its release, the New York Times hailed it as "magnificently vital reading, a book so charged with dramatic tension it almost crackles...All the King's Men is really a double story, that of Willie, the hick from the red-neck country who rose to power through eloquence, leadership, and ruthless mastery of dirty politics, and that of three 'aristocrats' drawn into Willie's orbit...well intentioned waverers between opposing systems" (19 August 1946). Since its appearance in print, All the King's Men has not only become a classic of literature but has inspired countless film and theatrical adaptations, as well as serving as the inspiration for later political critiques including the Watergate-focused All the President's Men. Near Fine in Very Good dust jacket. (Item #5590)